With the forthcoming dominance of the blockchain inevitable, many developers are utilizing this ground-breaking phenomena to revolutionize industries laden with primitive technology. The financial industry being the most notable one.
After extensive research spanning several months, I have picked the
5 most exciting cryptos (in my opinion) who are opting to transform the way their industry works, with the promise of making their dedicated services cheaper, faster, safer and better.
Let us begin:
Ripple is considered as one of the most highly anticipated cryptos in cryptocurrency market. Ripple refers to itself as the 'fastest and most scalable digital asset, enabling real-time global payments and anywhere in the world'. Ripple's crypto coin is referred to as XRP.
Ripple has the ability to handle 1,500 transactions per second (as opposed to Bitcoin's 7 TPS), and they believe they can scale to a similar throughput as Visa. Ripple has been created on the idea of making payments cheaper and quicker. XRP payments settle inside 4 seconds, as opposed to 3-5 days for traditional banking systems. This is partly the reason why so many investors are raving about this revolutionary technology, and why over 100 banks have licensed Ripple's technology.
Unlike many new companies in the the cryptocurrency sphere, Ripple is cash-flow positive according to their CEO, Brad Garlinghouse. With the market value of close to $10 billion, and a further $15bn worth of XRP helds in its reserves, the future for Ripple looks bright.
Sia is a 'decentralized cloud backend - the new era of cloud storage on blockchain'. Sia is looking to remould the cloud storage industry by decentralizing the way files are stored.
Storing data in a central location such as Dropbox, or other cloud storage companies is referred to as centralized storage and they have a single point of failure, that point being where the data is stored at the facility. Sia eradicates this problem by splitting, encrypting and distributing the users files across a decentralized network. The user holds keys to their own data, thus no outside company has or can access the users files. Due to the fact that current cloud storage works in a centralized manner, data breaches have become a common thing. This year, Equifax got hacked and compromised the data of over 143 million customers in the US, as well as many others in the UK. Sia has been introduced with the idea to eradicate problems such as data breaches.
As well as making it safer for people to store their files, it also making it cheaper, 90% cheaper to be exact. Storing 1TB on Sia costs about $2 per month, compared with $23 on Amazon S3.
Many will be wondering what roll Siacoin plays with Sia, and its quite simple, Siacoin is used as a token of exchange (for customers) and reward to the nodes (network of computers). If Siacoin manages to push through and develop itself as the 'backbone storage layer of the internet' then this current price of £0.0031 will be seen as missed opportunity in the future.
Like Ripple, Stellar is a platform that conducts cross-border payments with minimal fees, with a transaction being resolved on average between 2-5 seconds. Stellar may be seen as Ripple's biggest competitor due to the similarities in its service, but most notably the fact that the founder of Stellar, Jed McCaleb, left the directors board at Ripple in 2014 and founded Stellar.
Stellar's distinguishable characteristic is its vision to cater for 'people' rather than big banking institutions. Although Ripple has managed to partner up with several big banking institutions, Stellar has managed to tie up some significant partnerships in its short 3 year tenure. Recently, IBM partnered with Stellar to 'develop a blockchain-based cross-border payments solution proven to significantly reduce transaction costs and increase transaction speeds'. The IBM partnership announcement has seen the price of Stellar shoot up by more than 100% since October the 1st. Along with the IBM announcement, Stellar has also partnered up with KlickEx, a currency exchange service which enables fee-less transactions by exchanging with other people rather than through banking intermediaries. This partnership may not be as hyped up as the IBM association, yet it may prove to be one of the most significant moves made by Stellar in its plan to banish transaction fees and make Stellar the payment platform for the people rather than just the big banking institutions.
Golem is a decentralized supercomputer that anyone can access. Golem's supercomputer comprises of idle computer power on existing devices from computers/smartphones. The Golem project puts surplus computer power in the hands of those who require more computer power.
Golem is a decentralized sharing economy will allow anyone in the world to make money from 'renting' out their computing power. The Golem network is likened as the 'Airbnb for computing-processing power' and as of yet, there is not an established decentralized network in this space, thus the scope for growth is exciting.
The inception of the Golem network may be down to the increase in demand for excessive computing power due to the recent phenomenon in cryptocurrency mining. A recent miner attack on the Bitcoin network left hundrends of thousands of backlogged transactions, that's partly due to the centralized structure of mining pools. Golem can tackle this issue by becoming the world's first and largest fully decentralized cryptocurrency mining pool.
Along with the network potentially playing a fundamental role in mining, there is also scope for mass adoption. From speeding up the rendering process of CGI in the entertainment industry, acting as a catalyst in AI development to assisting in DNA analysis in the world of science. Golem's potential is unbounded, and it shouldn't go unnoticed.
IOTA describes itself as the 'next generation blockchain' and whilst us mere mortals are still trying to come into terms with the phenomenon of the blockchain, IOTA is promising to elevate and improve on the current blockchain technology.
IOTA is one of those projects that is probably the most difficult to explain to someone, yet, one of the most exciting. IOTA is aiming to revolutionize the sharing economy by monetizing off anything with a chip, that can then be leased out. The way technology is progressing, most of our belongings in the future will have a chip, from bicycles, guitars to appliances and tools. IOTA is looking to utilize this technology by allowing anyone to lease out their idle belongings, so if John is looking for bicycle for the next hour, he will be able to lease Adam's bicycle for that hour and pay him in IOTA.
The sharing economy is booming, Uber and Airbnb being the most recent examples. Whose to say that people would not want to monetize from their other belongings which they only use 10% of the time? IOTA is looking to combine this sensation of the sharing economy with the revolution of the blockchain to develop an advanced decentralized sharing economy.
What makes IOTA stand-out from the crowded cryptocurrency market is the architecture of its ledger. IOTA does not require miners, as it uses a blockless ledger called the 'Tangle'. Unlike the current blockchain, the Tangle makes it possible to transfer value without any fees as it couples the act of making a and validating a transaction. Therefore removing the need for miners, and making the users its 'miners'. IOTA's unconventional use of blockchain technology through the tangle architecture means that it will not be slowed down as the user-base grows (like other cryptos), the speed of transactions actually gets quicker the more users it has. Interesting, right?
Considering IOTA is only listed on Bitfinex and a few small exchanges, the scope of growth for IOTA is incredible. Once it hits the big exchanges in America and Asia, the price of £0.52 will seem a bargain.
Cryptocurrency is a market with a lot of noise, but little substance... for now. It's important to differentiate those projects that are making progress rather than just noise. You shouldn't invest £1 in a crypto that you feel does not have a place in the internet of the future, thus its use should come under close examination. As speculators we should determine whether there could be a groundbreaking technology beneath the promises and fancy video animations. Many will falter, but for those that don't, expect the returns to be substantial, and potentially life-changing.
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